Recipe: Smoking Perfect Ribs on a Pellet Grill

 #Recipe #Pork #Pork Ribs #Pellet Grill 

Ribs are one of my favorite things to smoke on my Traeger Pellet Grill, because once you season them up and get them on the smoker all you have to do is wait. I don't even wrap them or stick a thermometer in them.

In this recipe we are going to go through the steps to making super easy and delicious pork ribs.

They are that easy. And super good.


Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time5 hours or so, could be a little more or a little less
Rest Time7-10 minutes
Total Time5 hours and 40 minutes


  • One or more racks of ribs, I prefer Baby Back Ribs
    • I have used St. Louis Ribs, and they came out good, but you have to reduce the cook time by up to an hour.
  • Yellow Mustard (binder)
  • Rub - I generally use "The BBQ Rub" or Mississippi Grind
  • Pellets - I generally use Pecan, but also have used an assortment successfully.

What you need to do:

1. Picking the Ribs

In general when I smoke ribs on the Pellet Grill I generally use Baby Back ribs, because I find that they have good amount meat, they come out tender, and don't have big bones.

I usually get mine from where ever we are Costco? Walmart? Whole Foods? The Local super market? You want to get a good quality rack, not too much fat, but some.

You can use St. Louis style ribs, but I find that the bones are bigger, and the resulting meat is less than what you get on a baby back.

Picture of Pork Ribs in the package.
Picture of the backside of a Pork Rib Rack with the silver skin removed.

2. Trim the ribs

For this step there are two primary things that need to be done.

1. Trim off any excess fat or meat. You want you ribs to cook evenly, and any excess fat or meat will not cook at same speed as the rest of the rib rack (you can save this for later if you would like)

2. The last step is to remove the silver skin from the backside of the rib. This is optional, sometimes it comes off easily and sometimes it doesn't I usually don't stress about it. To remove it find a part of it that is not connected to the meat, and grab it with a paper towel and pull, you may need to do this more than once.

3. Season the Ribs

We use mustard as a binder, this can be any mustard, plain old yellow mustard works just fine. Once we spread it around we add our seasoning, I prefer seasoning that are a little spicy and have some color to them, I think the end result looks much better. Some favorites are The BBQ Seasoning and Swine Life Mississippi Grind

View of Pork Ribs with the Mustard Binder before it has been spread.

4. Warm up the Smoker

Time to warm up the grill. I usually do this after seasoning the Ribs, because it is best if the ribs have to rest and absorb the seasoning, the end result turns out much better.

For this step you want to get your smoker to 250 degrees. For pellets I usually use Pecan, but have used apple, cherry, and mixes.

5. Put the ribs on the Smoker

For this step I usually put the ribs on the top grate, I find that it allows the smoke to really penetrate the meat, plus heat rises and it is further from the flame or fire box, which results in a more even cook.

Image of Seasoned Pork Ribs on the top rack of my pellet grill

6. Initial Cook is for about 3 hours.

For this step all you have to do is set a timer for 3 hours and go check the ribs. They should be coming along nicely at this point, the bark is barely forming.

7. Check again...they should be ready or very close

At this point it is two hours since your last check, or roughly 5 total hours in the smoke. The ribs should have a good bark on them and the meat should be pulling away from the bone.

Also when you lift the ribs in the middle the ends should fold down and still touch the grate. Or the meat will separate at the lift point. If that is happening then that rack is done.

Another way to check is if the rib bone can move kind of freely in the meat.

Image of a completed Pork Rib Rack on my pellet grill smoker.
Close up of a finished Pork Rib rack that has just been smoked.

8. Done

This is the step we have all been waiting for. The ribs are done, they need to be pulled off the grill. At this point I also let me rest for 7-10 minutes, it let's them finish cooking a bit, get a little cooler, and suck all of the juices back into the meat.

Best and easiest way to cut the ribs is to flip it over so that it is bone side up and cut between the bones to serve.

Serving instructions, I almost always cook the ribs with Dry Rub because not everybody likes BBQ sauce on ribs. So I toss them to order, which great because you can handle different sauces, and different heat levels of the sauce.

Now Enjoy your hard work and amaze your friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. You absolutely can! You will need to adjust the cooking time. But it will still work correctly. I will sometimes use Super Smoke at 225 degrees for the first few hours to really get the smoke into the rib meat, and then I will goose the temperature up to 250 or 275 for the last hour or two. They come out great.

Yes you absolutely can! Any mustard will do, as will a light amount of oil, I have used hot sauces, like Tabasco, Cholula, Siracha. All come out good, and in general only enhance the flavor. Since we are cooking the pork ribs low and slow over a longish period of time, the flavors even out, so even when adding the hot sauce it isn't crazy spicy.

The best thing to do is experiment. Try different things, and see what works for you and your family or guests.